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Modelling medieval military logistics: an agent-based simulation of a Byzantine army on the march

  • Philip Murgatroyd
  • Bart Craenen
  • Georgios Theodoropoulos
  • Vincent Gaffney
  • John Haldon
SI: Agent-Directed Simulation

Abstract

Although historical studies are frequently perceived as clear narratives defined by a series of fixed events; in reality, even where critical historical events may be identified, historic documentation frequently lacks corroborative detail to support verifiable interpretation. Consequently, interpretation rarely rises above the level of unproven assertion and is rarely tested against a range of evidence. Agent-based simulation can provide an opportunity to break these cycles of academic claim and counter-claim.

This paper discusses the development of an agent-based simulation designed to investigate medieval military logistics so that new evidence may be generated to supplement existing historical analysis. It uses as a use-case the Byzantine army’s march to the battle of Manzikert (AD 1071), a key event in medieval history. The paper focuses primarily on the design of the agents and the environment they interact with, as well as how the agent-based simulation as a whole can be used to generate new parameters with which historical evidence can be situated.

Keywords

Agent-based modelling Distributed simulation Historical studies Medieval Military logistics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This project is funded by a joint AHRC/EPSRC/JISC e-Science research grant as the Medieval Warfare on the Grid (MWGrid) project. Computational resources for the project were provided by the University of Birmingham’s BlueBEAR HPC service, acquired through HEFCE SRIF-3 funds.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Murgatroyd
    • 1
  • Bart Craenen
    • 2
  • Georgios Theodoropoulos
    • 3
  • Vincent Gaffney
    • 1
  • John Haldon
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Archaeology and AntiquityUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  2. 2.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of BirminghamBirminghamUK
  3. 3.Exascale Systems ResearchIBM ResearchDublinIreland
  4. 4.Department of HistoryPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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